US senators reportedly attempting to block F-35 deployment to the UK

6 May 2020 (Last Updated May 6th, 2020 14:50)

US Republican senators are reportedly seeking to deter the stationing of 48 F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft in the UK.

US senators reportedly attempting to block F-35 deployment to the UK
The UK has committed to buy the initial batch of 48 F-35 aircraft. Credit: US Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen.

US Republican senators are reportedly seeking to deter the stationing of 48 F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft in the UK.

The Telegraph reported that the proposed action is being led by Arkansas senator Tom Cotton and tied to the association of Huawei in the UK’s 5G network.

In January, the Chinese firm was allowed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ‘build non-core parts of the UK’s 5G networks’.

According to scheduled plans, the F-35A aircraft are expected to be permanently stationed in the UK from next year.

A summary of the proposal being put forward by Cotton was quoted by the publication as saying: “To prohibit the stationing of new aircraft at bases in host countries with at-risk vendors in their 5G or 6G networks.”

If the move becomes a law, it will ban the deployment of the fleet of F-aircraft to the UK. US Congress will make the decision.

Furthermore, it could jeopardise the relationship shared between the US and the UK.

However, Tom Cotton told The Telegraph: “While the US will do all we can to maintain and strengthen the special relationship, protecting US airmen and our national security assets must come first.”

The UK has committed to buy the initial batch of 48 F-35 aircraft with plans for a total of 138 jets. It is yet to decide on the purchase of the remaining jets.